What is Inspiration?
Based in Latin, inspiration has meant “to breath into” or “the drawing of air into the lungs” since the middle of the 16th century. However, it was before that, in the 14th century, when inspiration had something closer to the figurative definition we assign to it now – “a divine influence upon a person, from a divine entity.”
It wasn’t until the 19th century that the word as we currently use it was fixed as “a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation; the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions; and the act of influencing or suggesting opinions.” Language is pretty much a completely made-up concept. And because of that, language is fluid. It takes the shape of our cultures, experiences, and interpretations.
800 years later, I’m not here to tell you about my lungs (although they are working fantastically), I’m here to tell you of the divine influences that move my intellect and emotions. Because as an artist, they are often deeply intertwined.
My Quiet Time
My inspirational moments come from time spent alone, in quiet spaces where I can keep to myself, observe, and exist without notice. That’s when I have the time to let my thoughts branch out. I feel free to wander and wonder and ultimately create on my own or digest creations from others. In this galaxy of introversion, I often wear headphones, listening to music. I do this to both block everything else out and to act as a tempo setter in correspondence to how I feel. Yet, much of the time, it’s in complete silence that I find inspiration. I am inspired by all sorts of phenomena, both internal and external.
Photographs, art, history, conversations, books, kindness, poetry, pain, delusion, music, and films. Eavesdropping, Instagram (yep, I’m a millennial alright), documentaries, and off-beat ideas. My own weirdness and the ugly pieces of our personalities. Other artists and art hubs, the natural and the unnatural world and everyday objects like a spoon with a beautiful rose design embedded in the handle. These are all sources for my inspiration. This list goes on and on.
Like thoughts in mediation, I let them serve me as they will. I let go of control, allowing them to come and go. Whatever attaches itself is what I use, collaborate with, expand upon, etc. I’ve never been one to seek out inspiration, because I find it in so many different spaces. I thrive off the authenticity of it finding me where I am, allowing it to surprise me. In doing so, I am more open. I am the vehicle, with knowledge and general direction, and if I surrender to it, the inspiration becomes my map.
When inspiration weaves its millipede-like legs my way, it’s an adrenaline rush. It’s like having 27 Internet tabs up after drinking an immense amount of caffeine. One thing leads to another, and all the sudden, I have created something tangible out of the intangible and it’s the happiest I can be.
So, what is inspiration? Lots of things. But for me it is, in short, a collective effort between you and the triggers of your curiosity. It is endless possibilities.